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Racy Israeli Photo Shoot Targets 'Anti-Women' Sentiment Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews

"a number of scantily clad men and women posing provocatively"

Image Credit: BelleMode

BelleMode, an Israeli fashion magazine, is catching some attention for a provocative photo spread featured in its February issue. To protest against what it sees as anti-women sentiment, the photo shoot showcases women and men in scantily clad (i.e. see-through) garb. The action has been taken, apparently, in a show of protest against attacks and actions that have been taken by ultra-conservative Orthodox Jews in Israel.

As the Blaze reported in December, a television crew was was attacked and an 8-year-old girl, who now says she's afraid to walk to school, was purportedly spat on and cursed at by ultra-Orthodox (Heredim) Jews in Israel. Here's what we initially reported, via AP/The Blaze:

Naama Margolese is a pony-tailed, bespectacled second-grader who is afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls school for fear of ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her and called her a whore for dressing “immodestly.” [...]

...[the] ultra-Orthodox population has erected street signs calling for the separation of sexes on the sidewalks, dispatched “modesty patrols” to enforce a chaste female appearance and hurled stones at offenders and outsiders. Walls of the neighborhood are plastered with signs exhorting women to dress modestly in closed-necked, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts.

The BelleMode photo shoot, which features women and men in clothing that is favored by the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews), will likely cause some angst among the already on-edge cohort.

Gawker has more about the clothing being worn by the models and the setting that was chosen for the images:

The spread features a number of scantily clad men and women posing provocatively (and sexily!) in outfits that resemble the clothing favored by Haredim, except with some minor differences. Like, some of the shirts are see-through. And some of the models have forgotten to wear their pants.

Adding to the provocation, all of the photos are set inside a bus, a cheeky nod to the ultra-Orthodox community's rabid efforts to maintain a strict separation of sexes on buses that pass through their neighborhoods. Additionally, in one of the photos the female model appears with tape over her mouth, but no one ever accused fashion industry types of getting their point across in a subtle manner.

Here's a behind the scene's video (in Hebrew) that shows the photo shoot being conducted (caution: photo shoot includes some provocative poses, but no nudity):

A translation of the video, via Gawker, corroborates its aim:

The subject of a woman's appearance is very bothersome in the media. My feeling is, that in the fashion industry, women have a lot of power, they are at the center. We took that power and decided to centralize/funnel it into a fashion production - that's both inspired and against a woman's appearance, to bring all the stuff that's most irritating to us — the bus banishments, silencing of singing - to bring it and make a production that walks a fine line between being very closed and modest to ripped wide open and sexy. As long as it's being done in good taste and doesn't harm the woman, I don't see any problem, that there will be fashion productions. Even if it's a little sexy - it only attracts and is interesting. When there is a subject like this - it's worth it to be even more cheeky and provocative. So the message is heard through the power of a woman.

Considering the intense debate between mainstream Israelis and the Heredim, there's no telling how much drama these images may cause.

(H/T: Gawker)

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